Hybrid Workplace

How to Design Your Hybrid Workplace | Aparna Sharma | Consulting Editor | The People Management

Hybrid WorkplaceIn today’s definition, a workplace is no longer a place. Most people realized they could work literally anywhere — office, coffee shop, home. Organizations and companies worldwide have turned to remote working for some time now. With the onset and offset of multiple lockdowns in many countries, there is a need to implement a hybrid workplace to adapt to the demanding conditions of today’s work setup.

What does a Hybrid Workplace look like?

The hybrid workplace is a work arrangement where employees have the option to work on-site or remotely. Depending on their convenience, the workforce can conduct operations in the office or the comforts of their homes. A hybrid setup promotes a flexible workplace where team collaboration will not be fully compromised while the employees work on-site or online.

One of the usual courses of action that companies take in adopting a hybrid workplace is designating specific days where some employees will work in the office. Having this kind of setup addresses the need for physical presence in specific meetings while allowing employees to do work remotely.

There have been positive outcomes recorded with implementing hybrid workplaces. These include increased employee productivity and work-life balance. When employees feel less stressed and have a defined line between work and life, they can function adequately at work — leading to enhanced performance. Moreover, companies can also benefit from implementing a hybrid workplace by minimizing operational costs (electricity, water, and rent).

What are the types of Hybrid setups?

Adopting a specific type of hybrid workplace depends on the conditions of your business and workforce. The right style for your company relies on flexibility and support while maintaining employee collaboration and productivity. Below are some of the types of hybrid workplaces that you can adopt –

Remote-first Model
This type of hybrid setup requires everyone to work entirely remotely, with very few employees rendering work in the office.

Occasional-Office Model
The core of this model allows employees to spend time working in the office — not fully implementing a completely virtual or remote work environment.

Office-preferred, Remote-Allowed Model
In this kind of hybrid setup, the office is the primary space for working. Employees who choose to work remotely have to adhere to remote work policies and requirements.

How to choose a suitable Hybrid Workplace?

The hybrid workplace has been seen as the ideal work setup, as it marries the sociability present in in-office work and the flexibility of working remotely. As leaders are now pushing for innovation and agility in operations, the hybrid workplace may be the best option for today’s businesses. If you are considering implementing a flexible setup, here are some things to examine to select the best hybrid workplace for you.

Review the Characteristics of an Effective Hybrid Setup –
In order to choose the setup that best works for your business, there are certain characteristics that make the hybrid workplace successful and effective.

a) Flexible
The hybrid setup is all about flexibility. Businesses must ensure that tools and processes are in place to support the flexible work setup for all employees, on-site or remote. This means that communication and collaboration can be similarly done whether remote or in-office employees are involved.

b) Inclusive
Hybrid workplaces must be accessible and inclusive to all employees, regardless of their demographics, language, or abilities.

c) Collaboration
The best practice in executing the hybrid setup is to assume that everyone is working remotely. In this way, digital tools must be ensured to foster collaboration among the team members wherever they are.

d) Security
A successful hybrid work setup must not breed digital risk but should mitigate cyber threats. The digital solutions that will be utilized must have security features that can protect the corporate data while ensuring the productivity and privacy of the employees.

e) Managed
Ensuring the effectiveness of the hybrid workplace requires the setup to be measurable and transparent. Managing the controls and permissions of the tools and the data can help in empowering governance within the workplace.

Seek Sentiments from the Workforce –
Developing a space that fuses the physical and remote work experience may shift the culture and goals of the business. Such change must adapt to the demands of a hybrid setup to have a successful transition. A way to do that is to invest in the well-being of the workplace.

Building the arrangement that works for your company needs input from the workforce, the main player in the hybrid setup. Involve your employees in the process by surveying them of their stances on hybrid work. Some questions you can ask include:

 Would you prefer working in-office or remotely?
 If both, how many days of working in the office? How many days of working remotely?
 What are the types of equipment you might need to work at home or remotely?
 Do you prefer working a flexible shift?